DGBAS says real monthly salary less than 15 years ago

FEELING THE PINCH::A DGBAS official said the problem is that consumer prices are rising faster than wages. There was good news on the job front

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jan 23, 2014 - Page 1

Real monthly salaries averaged NT$44,681 in the first 11 months of last year after taking inflation into account, down slightly from the NT$44,881 average recorded 15 years ago, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

The average monthly wage of workers in the industrial and service sectors climbed to a new high of NT$37,687 in the first 11 months of last year, an increase of 0.95 percent from a year earlier, DGBAS said in its monthly report.

The overall average monthly wage, including bonuses and compensation, also rose 0.38 percent to NT$45,896 from January to November last year compared with the same period in 2012, despite companies handing out fewer bonuses because of weak economic sentiment, the report said.

However, after adjusting for inflation — which climbed 0.83 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of last year — the real average wage, including bonuses and compensation, fell 0.45 percent from a year earlier to NT$44,681 per month, the report’s data showed.

DGBAS Deputy Director Lo Yi-ling (羅怡玲) attributed the downward trend to consumer prices climbing at a faster rate than salaries.

The agency also published the updated figure for last year’s jobless rate — 4.18 percent — the lowest level since the global financial crisis in 2008, as more jobseekers with a college or postgraduate degree received an offer and helped boost the overall number of employed.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.08 percent last month from November’s 4.16 percent, its lowest level since May last year.

On an annual basis, it was also down 0.1 percentage points last month.

“We saw the number of employed continuing to improve, with the labor participation rate standing at 58.43 percent last year, rising for the fourth consecutive year,” Lo told a press conference.

The number of employed averaged 10.97 million last year, rising by 107,000 from 2012, with those with a college degree or higher up by 163,000, showing the largest improvement of all, the DGBAS report said.

1111 Job Bank (1111人力銀行) public relations director Daniel Lee (李大華) said his firm is upbeat about the job market this year because more Taiwanese employers are recruiting this quarter compared with the same period last year.

The online agency’s latest survey showed 71.09 percent of polled companies are planning to hire new employees in the January-to-March quarter, up from 61.5 percent in a survey taken in the same period a year ago.

The figure was also higher than 62.92 percent recorded in its survey in the fourth quarter of last year, 1111 Job Bank said.